Mommy, Why is Superman in His Underwear?
Hide the Underwear
After sitting silently for 5 minutes (a new record) my daughter turned to me and said, “I’ve figured it out.” Figured what out? The meaning of life? Why coffee grounds smell good, but taste gross? Why powdered cocoa has practically the same issue as coffee grounds? Why the chicken truly, actually, for realsies this time, crossed the road? No. She’d figured out something WAY better. It was a proud moment. I’ll quote her here, because she truly deserves all the credit.
“I figured out why super-heroes conceal their identities and villains don’t. It’s because super-heroes run around in their underwear, and villains get to wear really cool cloaks.”
OMG. She was so right. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how insane this costuming faux pas was. It was like the time she cued me in to the secret that Snow White was an idiot, Cinderella was a complete wimp, and Rapunzel could have cut off her hair, made a rope, and climbed out of the tower at any time. My daughter is a very deep thinker.
When the room stopped spinning, I sat down and thought, “This is true, but I must understand why this is true. Maybe I should go to all the writers of the super-hero comics and explain to them that super-heroes would have a much better life,and not have to hide who they are, if only the cartoonists would draw them in something besides their underwear.
Why did they do that anyway? Were they thinking, “If a guy drops out of the sky, dressed in bright colors with underwear on the outside and says something like, ‘Crime doesn’t pay dirt bag’, the criminals would throw down their guns and go running for the nearest Bloomingdales in hopes of shedding themselves of an image that would haunt them for life.”
I could see that. Which, I guess, also explains how aforementioned bad guys end up being master criminals who dress really nice and have awesome cloaks, cloaks that, I might add, flow behind them when they walk. My kid demonstrated the coolness of this with a blanket tied around her neck. It was fuzzy and green, not black and sleek; and yet, the swishing and flapping as she walked mesmerized me. We need cloaks. Everyone, really, should own a cloak. I tried on the blanket. It was unbelievable. My blanket-cloak transformed me into the Evil Princess Darfa, bent on terror and destruction. Hey, maybe that’s why super-heroes don’t get to wear cloaks.
Here’s what I think is most likely the true story behind at least one super-hero’s attire.
The Real Story
There's this guy who has these super-powers. If people found out about his amazing abilities they would want him to do stuff for them ALL THE TIME. If they knew he could jump over buildings they would totally bet their colleagues that he “could too do it” and their colleagues would take that bet and the winners would have extra lunch money- which would be awesome if they shared, but they don't. Our super-hero guy would then get the crap beaten out of him by the next bad guy he fought due to lack of strength from not having time to eat his lunch.
The first thing our super-hero has to do is find a costume that separates his “normal I’m-not-jumping-over-things-so-you-can-have-more-lunch-money” self from his “I’m jumping over things now” self. Being a pretty classy guy, he goes out and buys a cloak. People laugh, because they know only villains wear cloaks. They tell him to grow up and get a real super-hero outfit.
Our super-hero then goes to his mom for advice. He’s a great guy who loves his mom, which is a prerequisite for being a superhero. His mom thinks really hard and comes up with a Looney-Toons outfit. He loves his mom, but explains to her that due to copyright infringement laws, he can’t wear this excellently made costume. She doesn’t understand copyright law and thinks he’s just being difficult to get along with. She whips out a spandex outfit with underwear on the outside and demands he take it or she’ll know for sure he doesn’t really love her. Our super-hero knows that if he doesn’t really love his mommy he can’t be a true super-hero; so he dutifully takes the outfit, and then makes a greater effort to try and hide his identity. He buys glasses for non-super-hero times.
Now, hiding your identity, when the only difference between your super-hero self and your non-super-hero self is the clothing you’re wearing (and the glasses-or lack thereof), would normally be pretty difficult. Luckily for our super-hero, people like him. People like him a LOT. No one wants him to know that they’ve seen him in his spandex and underwear. Everyone pretends to think he’s just a regular guy. Come Christmas time at the office, his Secret Santa even gives him a cape. Unfortunately it is a cape, not a cloak, so it still doesn’t hide the underwear. But it does flow nicely.
I'm sure that's how it all happened with one super-hero who's name I won't mention due to copyright infringement laws.
Now that I understand it all, I can explain this to my insightful daughter. We can feel at peace knowing the truth behind identity-hiding super-heroes. I think tomorrow we may go out and change our names to Sally and Cecile, put underwear on over our clothes and begin our own super-hero activities in our neighborhood. I’m pretty sure most of our neighbors like us- enough to pretend not to know us while we're out super-hero-ing anyway. Come to think of it, they pretend not to know us when we aren't super-hero-ing. I wonder why that is???